Review Article Open Access
Volume 2 | Issue 5 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.33696/immunology.2.049

Cyclosporine Broadens the Therapeutic Potential of Lenalidomide in Myeloid Malignancies

  • 1Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences, University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC, USA
+ Affiliations - Affiliations

Corresponding Author

Jing Fang, fang8@cop.sc.edu

Received Date: July 13, 2020

Accepted Date: July 29, 2020


The immunomodulatory drug lenalidomide is used for the treatment of certain hematologic malignancies, including myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Lenalidomide interacts with cereblon (CRBN), a component of the CRL4CRBN E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, leading to ubiquitination and subsequent degradation of substrates, such as transcription factor Ikaros (Ikaros family zinc finger 1, IKZF1). With a genome loss of function screen, we recently identified two novel pathways mediated by lenalidomide in MDS. In this review, we summarized the major findings of these two pathways and their clinical implications. Depletion of G protein-coupled receptor 68 (GPR68) or an endogenous calcineurin (CaN) inhibitor, regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1), reversed the inhibitory effect of lenalidomide on MDSL cells, an MDS cell line. Intriguingly, both GPR68 and RCAN1 expression levels were upregulated in MDSL cells after treatment with lenalidomide that was dependent on diminishment of IKZF1, indicating that IKZF1 functioned as a transcription repressor for GPR68 and RCAN1. Mechanistic studies revealed that upregulation or activation of GPR68 induced a Ca2+/calpain pro-apoptotic pathway, while upregulation of RCAN1 inhibited the CaN pro-survival pathway in MDSL cells. Notably, the pharmacological CaN inhibitor, cyclosporine, enhanced the sensitivity to lenalidomide in MDS as well as acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Surprisingly, pretreatment with lenalidomide reversed the immunosuppressive effects of cyclosporine on T lymphocytes. Our studies suggest that lenalidomide mediates degradation of IKZF1, leading to derepression of GPR68 and RCAN1 that activates the Ca2+/calpain pro- apoptotic pathway and inhibits the CaN pro-survival pathway, respectively. Our studies implicate that cyclosporine extends the therapeutic potential of lenalidomide to myeloid malignancies without compromising immune function.

Author Information X